Lesson Number 14


"But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU." And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." (Hebrews 9:11-28, NASB)


When you study the book of Hebrews, you will sense a priority that significantly differs from that of the average church. The Spirit does not deal extensively with social or domestic issues, or congregational disorders. He is coming to grips with the foundations, and the necessity of embracing them with the whole heart. Christ Jesus is at the heart of the message, and the New Covenant is a dominant consideration. The seriousness of the message is seen in the most solemn warnings that have been spoken. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation" (2:3). "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it" (4:1). "For it is impossible . . . to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame" (6:4-6). This is NOT a novel message, or a scholastic diversion designed to tantalize the intellect. This book is about our salvation, how it was provided, and what it entails.

There is no salvation apart from involvement--intimate involvement--with the Son of God. He is God's Spokesman, as well as Savior. Insensitivity to Him excludes one from salvation. A neglect of the great salvation which He has provided at great personal cost will result in condemnation--and there are no exceptions. While it may appear stern to speak with such tones of finality, the Spirit does so for a reason. Our adversary, the devil, is expert in diversionary tactics. He is quite willing for us to be content with some devotion to God, some religious activity, some interest in Scripture. He will use that "some" to lull us into complacency, for that places us in his arena.

The Holy Spirit, however, is not willing for us to remain in that condition. With shouts and pleadings He summons us into the warfare of faith. He demands that we come close, where we can more easily hear the voice of the Savior. He cries out to us to listen to what He is saying. He points us to the marvelous provisions of the New Covenant, bringing us to ponder its magnitude and glory in its blessing. The Spirit is bringing us into a deeper consideration of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without that consideration, there is no hope of being saved--no hope of surviving the journey from time to eternity--no prospect of overcoming the devil. As simplistic as that may seem, there is a general lack of awareness of its truth. The casualness that dominates the average assembly of professed believers belies their profession.

This is an up-to-date message! Away with the notion that we just meet the people at the point of their personally perceived need. We must meet them at the point of God's declared need! We cannot be steeled against their difficulties, or refuse to supply any temporal needs they have. But we cannot make such things fundamental! There is no believer that has advanced beyond a need for this message. Nor, indeed, is there one that is not yet ready for it--not advanced enough to gain eternal advantage by giving heed to its solemn yet promising words! Here we deal with eternal things--things that will prepare people to live in this world, triumphantly face death, have boldness to stand before the Lord in the day of judgment, and finally enter with joy into the courts of the Lord.


What a marvelous reality will now be set before us. It is a large room, or place, into which we now enter (Psa 31:8). Here is the event that is the crux of history--the hub upon which everything of significance turns! "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come . . . " (NASB). When Christ came on the scene, everything changed! Those who heard Him knew there had never been a spokesman like Him (John 7:46). His words and works tower above everything before Him! But the book the Hebrews does not linger upon our Lord's earthly ministry. He entered the redemptive arena for a higher and more noble purpose--an eternal purpose!

Jesus is a High Priest of "good things to come." This verse reads differently in various versions. "an high priest of good things to come" (KJV, NKJV, NASB, Darby), "high priest of the good things that have come" (RSV), "high priest of the good things that are already here" (NIV), "chief priest of the coming good things" (YLT), "high priest of the good things of the future" (BBE). The "things to come"

are things to which the tabernacle system pointed. They are things for which the Law prepared men. These "things" were not provided to men before Christ, and they are not available to men now apart from Christ. He is the High Priest of them--the exclusive Distributor of them. They come from His hand, and are appropriated when we are in fellowship with Him. They are ministered from heaven--from the right hand of God. The closer one gets to that throne of all grace, the more available they become. The further men are from that throne, the least apt they are to experience them. These are necessary "things." Heaven cannot be gained without them. The Tempter cannot be overcome without them. They are requisite to every aspect of the heavenly Kingdom, every facet of spiritual progress, every aspect of kingdom productivity.

They are "things to come" because their fulness has neither been divulged nor experienced. "It does not yet appear what we shall be" (1 John 3:1-3). They are "things that have come" because we have tasted the first-fruits of them. Already, in this world, we have "been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age" (Heb 6:4-5, NIV). For those in Christ, these glorious realities are now experienced in measure. Our appetites are being whetted for eternity in our experience of them. The "fellowship" of the Son, into which we have been called (1 Cor 1:9) has yielded this foretaste of the coming age. He is the High Priest that has given them to us. He has been appointed by the Father to begin doing so now, and continue the glorious process throughout eternity.

Isaiah spoke of these "things" eternal verities reserved for those who love God. "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him" (Isa 64:4). Sin so stunted the capacity of men they could not even imagine the greatness of the blessing God had prepared. It extended beyond the vision of the seers of old, the holy prophets, and even Moses the lawgiver. The keen vision of David could not detect the details of their greatness, nor the eagle eye of Ezekiel, who saw "visions of God" (Ezek 1:1; 8:3).

Think of the "things" currently being administered by this High Priest! In this world we experience the remission of sin, the peace of God, the joy of the Holy Spirit, and the righteousness of God (1 John 1:9; Phil 4:6-7; Rom 4:4-8; 14:17;). Enlightenment is given to us concerning God and His great salvation (Eph 1:18-20). The "spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" is graciously granted to us (2 Tim 1:7). The grace of God teaches us to deny "ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Tit 2:11). Everything "pertaining to life and godliness" has been given to us (2 Pet 1:3). Mercy and "grace to help in the time of need" may be had for the asking (Heb 4:16). By His grace we have been called into a transcendent fellowship, which includes God, the Lord Jesus, the holy angels, the spirits of just men made perfect, the vast fellowship of those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life, and the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel (Heb 12:22-24). Everything is being worked together for our good (Rom 8:28), and we are "more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Rom 8:37). All of these "things" have come from our great High Priest. That is something of what He is doing now!

But there is more to come! God will "bruise Satan under our feet shortly" (Rom 16:20). We will judge the world and angels (1 Cor 6:1-2), and "reign with Him" (2 Tim 2:12). Our names will be confessed before the Father and the Holy angels (Rev 3:5). Appropriate rewards will be given to those who have invested themselves in their stewardship (Matt 5:12; Rev 22:12). The overcomers will be given "power over the nations" (Rev 2:26), will eat from the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev 2:7), and will receive a new name depicting an intensely personal identity with God (Rev 2:17). Such will be made pillars in the very temple of God, and will never again depart from blessing to enter into battle or trial (Rev 3:12). And how is it that these things will be ministered to us? Our great High Priest has been appointed to minister these things to come!

Those who desire to truly benefit from Jesus must obtain an interest in these "things." Those who are not preoccupied with them will not experience the ministry of Jesus! This is a revolutionary thought, running counter to much of what is said in the name of Christ today. Vast numbers of "church" people remain in a state of abysmal ignorance concerning these "things." They appear to have little appetite for them. Let us not be deceived about that type of circumstance! God has not provided salvation for the disinterested. There are no eternal benefits for the uninvolved. Those who do not "hunger and thirst for righteousness" will not be filled, and will thus be excluded from the Divine Presence. This book is a stern, yet refreshing, reminder that God has nothing to offer that is disassociated from Jesus. By Divine appointment, he is the "High Priest of good things to come." Our experience of those glorious "things" will be determined by our participation in their first fruits now! If we share in them now, we shall participate in them then! The degree of our involvement now will determine the extent of it then.


When the Son returned to "heaven itself," He did so in our behalf. He did not enter heaven in disassociation from His vicarious atonement. He returned as One that had completed a mission, having satisfied the requirements of a gracious, yet just, God. "He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all" (NASB).

It was wonderful when the Son walked among men, but it was more wonderful when He entered into heaven! It was good when Jesus "went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38), but it was better when He entered into "the holy place." Meeting with disciples in the synagogues and on the mountain side was glorious, but meeting with saints in heavenly places is "rather glorious." Christ's entrance into heaven had infinitely more effect than His entrance into the world. His ministry in heaven is more effectual than His Galilean ministry. This is not intended to diminish His entrance into the world, nor His marvelous works when He "dwelt amongst us." God forbid! His entrance into heaven validated His death and resurrection on our behalf. It also sanctified the recollection of His powerful works and gracious displays of grace and mercy. Christ's death would have counted for nothing if He did not return to heaven to minister its efficacy!

It was "through His own blood" that the Son "entered the holy place." Just as the high priest under Law could not enter the holiest place without blood, so Christ could not enter heaven without the efficacy of His own blood. What is more, the high priest of old had to have appropriate blood to enter the expiatory realm. He could not enter with the blood of a turtle dove. It had to be the "blood of the bullock" or "blood of the goat" of the sin offering (Lev 16:14-15). Jesus could not enter heaven with the blood of "goats and calves." He could not enter with the blood of Abel, or the holy prophets. He had to enter with His own blood--His own investment in our salvation! The forfeiture of His life became the basis of our acceptance by God! He entered heaven with the evidence of an accomplished mission. He was obedient to the Father, having laid down His life of Himself, and taken it up again in the power of the Holy Spirit.

He did not enter into heaven with our good works, but with His own blood. He did not enter with the merits of the most excellent of the sinful race, but with His own blood! He did not enter into heaven with the tables of the Law, but by His own blood! His submission to the wrath and curse of God lifted the curse from us. He entered by His own blood. Having submitted to the curse of the Almighty, now the Almighty could bless us. He entered by His own blood. If you dare to enter heaven with anything else, you will be rejected. Make no mistake about that. We do not come to God pleading the merit of our own accomplishments, but having "faith in the blood" through which Christ entered into heaven (Rom 3:25). Because He entered through that blood, so can we! God honors that blood, and if we honor it, He will honor us! This gives great weight to the Pauline phrase, "faith in the blood" (Rom 3:25).


The word "eternal" is intimidating to the flesh. It senses its own imminent demise, and therefore recoils at the word "eternal" or "everlasting." It should not surprise you that significant bodies of theology have been developed to neutralize the power of "eternal." God is an "eternal God" (Deut 33:27). The righteous shall enter "into life eternal" (Matt 25:46). Those who ingest Jesus "have eternal life" now (John 6:54). Sufferings are working for us an "eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor 4:17). The things that occupy the focus and attention of the saved are "eternal" (2 Cor 4:18). The resurrection bodies that await us in heaven are "eternal" (2 Cor 5:1). The purpose of God is "eternal" (Eph 3:11). Salvation is "with eternal glory" (2 Tim 2:10). Salvation itself is "eternal" (Heb 5:9). Our inheritance is "eternal" (Heb 9:15). It should not startle any soul that the redemption Jesus "obtained" for us is "eternal." "But Christ . . . entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (KJV). It was necessary for the redemption to be "ETERNAL." It was to fulfill the eternal purpose of the eternal God. Here is a marvelous expression, and we do well to extend ourselves to perceive something of its magnitude. Note, Jesus did not enter into the holy place in order to obtain eternal redemption. Rather, He entered "HAVING OBTAINED eternal redemption." The redemption was wrought in the earth, and was presented in heaven! The requirements of Divine justice were achieved by Jesus in the flesh, then presented in the behalf of fallen man in the heavenly realm.

The word "obtained" is an intriguing one. It comes from euramenoj (hyoo-ris'-ko), which means "to find after search, discover, come upon." There seems to be an illusion to Job 33:24. "Spare him from going down to the pit ; I have found a ransom for him"(NASB). This does not diminish the fact that salvation was enveloped in Divine purpose. Rather, it accentuates the wisdom of God. As David would say, God "devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him" (2 Sam 14:14, NASB). From any perspective other than God's, the reclamation of humanity looked hopeless. It looked as though the fall was too far, the gap too wide, and the malady too grievous to allow for recovery. The adversary was not only fierce, but "subtle" and crafty beyond human imagination. He had successfully orchestrated the fall of a great host of angels (Matt 25:41; Jude 6; 2 Pet 2:4; Rev 12:9).

The Son left the glories of heaven and entered into the realm of restriction. He entered striped of the prerogatives of Deity, and submitted to life by faith, in complete reliance upon the Father. He "learned obedience," "suffered being tempted," and "increased in wisdom . . . and favor with God" (Heb 5:8; 2:18; Luke 2:52). From the moment He was born, it became Satan's objective to destroy Him. He sought to accomplish this objective through Herod, when Jesus was an infant (Matt 2:13). He sought to bring the Son of down through temptation at the threshold of His ministry (Matt 4:4-10). Again, through the people, the devil engaged in an effort to destroy the Savior (Matt 12:14; Luke 19:47). Finally, in Gethsemane's garden, he tempted the Son of God to withdraw from the redemptive enterprise in self interest (Matt 26:39ff). Even upon the cross, speaking through beguiled souls, Satan sought to turn Jesus from the work He was sent to do (Matt 27:40-42).

All of this is not to mention the apathy and indifference of Christ's own people (John 1:11), the unbelief and obtuseness of His disciples (Matt 17:17), the restriction of His own flesh (Luke 12:50), and the contemplation of Divine rejection and cursing (Mark 15:34; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13). All of these things had to be overcome to "OBTAIN eternal redemption for us." The Son of God could not fulfill His mission casually. Men and women may enter half-heartedly into the work of the Lord, but Jesus could not do so. Had He approached His mission as many today approach theirs, we would all have dropped into hell! No! Jesus found the way through the morass of flesh, sin, obstructions, attacks, and handicap. He did not obtain it easily, but He obtained it. Praise the Lord.

The redemption is an "eternal" one--"ETERNAL REDEMPTION!" Its power extends from the first man to the last; from the beginning to the ending. There is no facet of our salvation that Christ did not address; no Divine requirement He did not satisfy! Ours is an "ETERNAL REDEMPTION!" God will never require another redemptive offering! There will never again be a necessity for a sin offering! God will never again curse in order to bless, abandon in order to gather and reconcile. Christ has obtained "ETERNAL REDEMPTION!" This redemption extends to the saints in all ages--before Christ and after His earthly life. It brings the eternal benefits of peace, joy, glory, and life. It includes the conferment of immortality and removal of every aspect of the curse. It is an "ETERNAL REDEMPTION." It is eternal in comparison to the offerings and ministries of the high priest under Law. It is distinct from temporal deliverance, like that of Israel from Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and the river Jordan. It is an "ETERNAL REDEMPTION!"

But this redemption has been obtained "FOR US." The phrase "for us" is supplied in the KJV. It is not out of order for it to be placed in the text. After all, "us" is the thrust of the Spirit's application. God has spoken to "US" by His Son (1:2). It is "US" that are warned to fear (4:1). Those that are to labor to enter the provided rest are "US" (4:11). Those that are to come boldly to the throne of All grace are "US" (4:16). God's High Priest is befitting and appropriate for "US" (7:26). The "eternal redemption" has been "obtained" for "US!"

It was not procured for angels, but for fallen humanity! That means we can be confident and assured of its effectiveness. If God does not doubt it, there is certainly no justifiable reason for us to do so. At some point, men must cease to view Christ's vicarious atonement scholastically or academically. While there is food for thought here, and sufficient information to challenge the most prodigious mind, redemption is intended to be appropriated! Where study ends, faith can take over! Let no soul despise study, research, and the meticulous involvement of the mind. These are necessary involvements for us all. However, faith extends beyond the perimeter of the intellect, laying hold of redemptive realities transcendent to nature. It is when faith dominates the soul that "eternal redemption" is appropriated at the individual level. Remember, the "eternal redemption" was appropriated FOR YOU!


Once again, the Spirit points out the superiority of Christ's atoning death. Under the law, the death of innocent victims did not reach into the heart and soul of those for whom they were offered. Their effectiveness went no further than the flesh--the outward man. "For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh" (NASB). Those who could not enter the camp because of defilement, once cleansed, could once again enter. Their hearts were not changed, their sins were not remitted, and their consciences remained defiled. But they could enter.

Two offerings are combined here. The offering made on the day of atonement (Lev 16:14-16), and the offering of cleansing from defilement caused by touching a dead body (Num 19). The day of atonement was the highest of all days, and the offering presented then the greatest of all offerings. Offering was then made for general sin and defilement, whether known or unknown. The other offering, which involved the "ashes of an heifer," was remarkably detailed. In this offering provision was made for continual and unavoidable defilement. Neither ceremony availed for anything but outward, or ceremonial, defilement. If the individual had been excluded from the camp because of outward defilement, the offering allowed him to again enter the camp.

A religion confined to ceremony remains ineffective to accomplish the purpose of God. Without the vitality and effectiveness of Christ's atonement, everything else is vain. If ordained ceremonies could not reach beyond the outward man, how effective will humanly-devised ceremonies be? The New Covenant is one of spirit, not of flesh. It deals with the inward man, and does not view the outward man as primary. We enter the Lord's presence in our spirits.


The effectiveness of Christ's atonement is not found in its presentation to us, but in its presentation to God Himself. If God had not received Christ's offering, it would have no power with us! God's view is the preeminent one! Now we come to a most refreshing contemplation. " . . . Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God . . . " (NASB).

First, notice that Christ, "through the eternal Spirit," offered Himself to God. There is a fine distinction here that is to be considered. This is the only place in Scripture "the eternal Spirit" is mentioned. It is not a term ascribed to the Holy Spirit, even though the Holy Spirit is eternal. This is the Divine part of Christ Jesus, as opposed to the human nature He took upon Himself. There are at least three texts where the Spirit of Christ is contrasted with His flesh--where His Deity and humanity are pondered in a single expression.

"His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh . . . " (Rom 1:3, NASB). Here "His Son" (Deity) is contrasted with His humanity ("according to the flesh"). Christ's humanity without His Deity would have rendered His work ineffective. His Deity without His humanity would have rendered the work irrelevant.

"And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit . . . " (2 Tim 3:16, NASB). Christ's vindication, or justification, was not owing to Him being made known to us, but in His appearance before God. It is God's view of His death that makes it effective for the believer. Both men and God saw Christ Jesus, but it is what God saw that put away the sins of the world!

"For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit" (1 Pet 3:18), NASB). Christ was "crucified because of weakness, yet lives because of the power of God" (2 Cor 13:4). Our Lord's humanity enabled Him to die. It was His Deity that brought Him back from the dead.

Christ's death was essential to our salvation. It was His willingness to do so, however, that made it effective. It was "through the eternal Spirit" that He offered Himself to God without a spot or moral blemish. Brute beasts were taken and offered under the Law. Their wills were not involved. As with the whole creation, they were "subjected to futility, not of [their] own will, but because of Him who subjected [them]" (Rom 8:20). But it was not so with Jesus. He did learn obedience through the things that He suffered, but His offering was not presented to God out of cold obedience, as under the Law. His obedience was prompted by His Spirit, not the thunderings of Sinai. It was voluntary in every sense of the Word, although it involved a fierce struggle with the flesh. Jesus triumphed over the weakness of His humanity in His Spirit, thereby setting the tone for His disciples. He also presented His body "a living sacrifice." It is no small thing, therefore, that He asks the same of us (Rom 12:2).

In the energy of His Spirit, Jesus successfully resisted the temptation to withdraw, even sweating, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44). Amidst a hail of unparalleled temptation, He offered Himself "without spot" to God, thereby fulfilling the type instituted under the Law (Ex 12:5; 29:1; Lev 23:12, etc.). There was no sin in Him, nor guile of deceptiveness in His mouth (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 3:22). It had to be so, else humanity could not be reclaimed. We are not reconciled by omnipotence, but by the atoning death of Christ.

In His presentation to God, Jesus provides the example for us all. The weaker is sanctified by the greater! The new creation, which we have from God, is the compelling force in our life. It, and it alone, enables us to keep under our bodies, bringing them into subjection (1 Cor 9:27). As we give heed to the new man, the old man will become subordinate, even if it is against his will.


Now we come to the glorious benefit of Christ's vicarious atonement--the immediate advantage! Here is something never, before Christ entered into heaven, experienced in the sense of our text. "How much more will the blood of . . . cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (NASB). A cleansed, or purged, conscience is of inestimable worth! This is the conscience in regards to our affiliation with God Almighty. One can have an uncondemning conscience owing to it being seared (1 Tim 4:2). This, as I understand it, is not a mere facet of our being, but stands for our entire moral consciousness in relation to God. It touches living, praying, serving, and worshiping. It deals with hearing, comprehending, pursuing, and enjoying the Lord. It is the absence of withdrawal, and the presence of an incessant quest for God.

The cleansed conscience is one that knows "I am not condemned"--that "I am accepted by God, and welcome in His courts." It is a conscience that recoils at the thought of sin, and is repulsed by the intrusion of sinful thoughts, or Satan's "fiery darts." This is a conscience that seizes the Kingdom with violence, and is aggressive to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, while living righteously and godly in the world. It is a conscience tuned to heaven, that is poised to respond to the voice of the Lord. You cannot come into God's presence without this conscience.

There is no empty ceremony that can appropriate such a conscience. No matter how precisely the High Priest prepared the burnt offering, offered it, and sprinkled its blood, the conscience remained defiled. Those ordained activities could not make one welcome in God's presence. They could not produce a hatred for iniquity, a longing for the courts of the Lord, or a resolute spirit. Those who seek such benefits by mere adherence to a routine, must allow the Law to bring them to Christ so they can be justified!

The conscience is purged, or cleansed, from "dead works." Such works--"dead works"--are like a faith that is dead. That kind of faith is no faith at all (James 2:20,26), and "dead works" are no works at all. They are not recognized in heaven, regardless of their supposed moral excellence. Outside of Christ, even the "plowing of the wicked is sin" (Prov 21:4). How well the Spirit states it in Titus. "but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted" (Tit1:15). "Dead works" is a synonym for sin--human expressions that miss the mark, are at variance with the nature of God, and center in human desire. They contribute to death, or alienation from God, giving it more power to separate from God, plunging the individual deeper and deeper into the cauldron of transgression and spiritual death.

Before an individual can willingly and effectively serve the Lord, the conscience must be purged from the guilt of sin. By this, the Spirit means the individual must be able to stand before God without being bludgeoned by the guilt of his own transgression. There must be a sense of forgiveness and, to some degree, an awareness of justification. Only the blood of Christ can produce this glorious effect. The cleansed one is therefore no longer intimidated by the presence of the Lord. Instead, a calmness of soul is experienced before the Lord. A frame of spirit is also possessed that cries out, "Here am I. send me!"

Right here we find a lovely aspect of baptism into Christ. Peter associates our baptism with the procurement of a good conscience, something coveted by holy men in old time. "There is also an antitype which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet 3:21, NKJV). The NIV, NASB, and RSV obscure the meaning of this passage by translating "not the removal of dirt from the body." The word "filth" (rupou), in this form, is used only here in the Apostolic writings. It is also used twice in verb form in Revelation 22:11). In that text it is obvious that it is not speaking of the contamination of the body with dirt. There, the meaning is moral contamination. The meaning of 1 Peter 3:21 is simply this: baptism is not a ceremonial rite, resulting in ceremonial cleansing, like that of the Law.

The language of the Spirit is strong, and does not fit into a sectarian mold. In our baptism there is an appeal to God for a cleansed conscience. Some versions translate the verse, "an appeal to God for a good conscience" (NASB). Others say, "an appeal to God for a clear conscience" (RSV), "the answer of a good conscience toward God" (NKJV), and "the pledge of a good conscience toward God" (NIV). In baptism, therefore, there is an undeniable association with obtaining a purified, or cleansed, conscience. This involves a persuasion that the sin of the individual has been put away by Christ, and is remembered no more by God. That is a powerful effect, and is owing to the "blood of Christ." In my years of exposure to preaching and teaching, I have heard very few references to this aspect of salvation. If my experience is common, it is no wonder confidence and assurance are so rare among Christians. Great numbers of professed believers do not think of the blood of Christ in connection with purging the conscience from the condemning power of "dead works." Nor, indeed, are they aware that men appeal to God, in their baptism, for a cleansed conscience. The absence of a cleansed conscience accounts for the lack of service among these people.

When the conscience is purged, "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" are experienced in copious measures (Rom 14:17). It is then that the love of God "is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Rom 5:5). Then we are "filled with all joy and peace in believing" (Rom 15:13). The "fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ," into which we have been called, is realized to the satisfaction and empowerment of the soul (1 Cor 1:9). The cleansed conscience enables the believer to "crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts," "resist the devil," and "run with patience the race" that has been set before us (Gal 5:24; James 4:7; Heb 12:1-2). But where the conscience is not purged, these results will not take place. A defiled and corrupted conscience will not allow the individual to linger in or relish the presence of the Almighty God! Nothing uncleansed can produce something that pleases God! Under the Law, everything used in the service of God, whether person, utensil, or garment, had to be "washed" before employed in sacred work. Only purgation by the blood of Christ can remove all stain! Thanks be to God for the blood of Christ, which is able to "purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God!" You cannot do without this!


The efficacy of Christ's death qualifies Him to mediate the New Covenant. Before the benefits of the covenant can be ministered to the individual, his conscience must be cleansed from the defilement of sin. "And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (NASB). Those with a cleansed capacity to serve the Lord will be the recipients of the blessing of the New Covenant! These marvelous blessings cannot be ministered while the individual is at a distance from God, reluctant to draw near, and condemned by the Divine Presence. But, once the knowledge of the remission of sins is experienced, the extensive and effective ministry of Jesus begins!

Before Christ, the work of every Divinely appointed leader was terminated by his death. Moses' leadership work ended when he died. Aaron's high priestly work terminated when he breathed his last breath. The liberating and discretionary work of all the Judges ended when they died. The work of the mighty kings of Israel and Judah ended when they were "gathered unto their people." What is more, the death of these patriarchs, judges, and kings, brought no reconciling efficacy. "The blood of the prophets" (Matt 23:0), shed because of their message, was unable to purge a single conscience! But it was not so with the death of Christ, praise the Lord!

Even as God's purpose was "from the foundation of the world," so it involved those living from the beginning. Thus it is written, "in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." The saints before us "were not made perfect without us" (Heb 11:40) i.e., the blessing of salvation could not be theirs independently of we who are in Christ. However, neither could the remission of our sins occur until Divine satisfaction had been realized for their transgressions. No sins would be atoned until ALL had been atoned! Sin in its entirety was dealt with in Christ. No trusting one was excluded! Christ could not mediate the New Covenant until all sin had been dealt with effectively, and Divine satisfaction was thorough. The sins of righteous men like Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, remained until Christ Jesus "appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." The sins of David, Solomon, and believing kings and prophets, hovered, as it were, between heaven and earth. Satan was able to accuse the patriarchs of old because a satisfactory atonement had not been made. But he is not able to do so now! Men may take it upon themselves to speak against the godly of past ages, but their words will be condemned by God, for their sins are covered by the blood of Jesus! "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies!" (Rom 8:33).

This condition--the settling of the accounts of the ancients--enables Jesus to mediate the New Covenant now. Were the sins of the patriarchs still outstanding, we could not experience the New Covenant. They, so to speak, had to partake of the fruit of salvation first, in order that God's promise to them might be fulfilled! Using a bit of holy imagination, it must have been a glad day when the atonement was announced in the heavenly realms. Oh, to hear the shouts of joy! Thus, it is written, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death" (Rev 12:10-11).


This passage has perplexed many students of Scripture. It introduces the idea of a testament, or will, not hitherto discussed. The First Covenant was not a "will" in the ordinary sense of the word, and it did not require the death of its mediator, Moses, to bring it to the people. It did, however, require the death of a ratifying victim, and that is the point of this text. The covenant was made upon the basis of the shedding of blood.

The Spirit now establishes the necessity of Christ's death. We could not enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant, including remission of sin and the knowledge of God, until a satisfactory death occurred. "For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives" (NASB). The KJV and NASB, as well as other older versions, use the word "Testator" instead of "the one who made it." This more precisely presents the case. In this case a text-study will yield greater benefits than a word-study. Youngs Literal Translation, in my judgment, captures the sense of the text. "For where a covenant {is}, the death of the covenant-victim to come in is necessary." As we will find, this idea was introduced by God Himself, early in His dealings with humanity.

The word "covenant" literally means "a cutting." When God made covenant with Abraham, He did so over a sacrifice. Abraham was commanded to take "an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon," to be included in the covenant-making ceremony. Scripture apprizes us that Abraham cut the heifer, she goat, and ram in half, laying the pieces opposite of one another. The birds, however, he did not cut in two (Gen 15:9-10). Knowing the importance of these ratifying victims, Abraham drove away the birds of prey that sought to get at the carcases (15:11). When night time came, a "deep sleep" fell upon the patriarch, and a "thick and dreadful darkness came over him" (15:12). It is then written, "when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram . . . " (15:17-18). The divided carcasses of the heifer, goat, and ram, together with the whole carcasses of the turtledove and young pigeon, were the ratifying victims of the covenant. The covenant was made while a burning lamp passed between the bodies of those victims, as though drawing attention to the loss of one life for the gaining of another.

In the case of Christ, He is one making the sacrifice, the victim, the burning lamp, and the covenant itself. He "offered Himself" (Heb 9:14). He Himself was the offering, Lamb of God, or Passover lamb (Heb 10:10; John 1:29; 1 Cor 5:7). He is that "light" that illuminates the sacrifice and confirms its acceptance (Matt 4:16; Luke 1:79; John 1:5-9). He Himself is God's "Covenant," given to the people (Isa 42:6; 49:6).

The Covenant Is Made With Jesus

In the strictest sense of the word, the covenant was made with the Lord Jesus Himself--the Father with the Son. Of this glorious covenant, the Spirit says, "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ" (Gal 3:16). This is pivotal in the current consideration, setting the New Covenant apart from the old one. God's great salvation, from one perspective, is marvelously complex, though practically simply. It took a multiplicity of types and figures to introduce men to the glory of this salvation. The covenant was made with the Son. The Son Himself is the covenant. The Son is the ratifying victim of the covenant, and even offers the sacrifice. He is the altar, tabernacle, and High priest. He fulfills the type presented by the heifer, she-goat, ram, turtledove, and pigeon. He is the burning lamp that passes between the ratifying victim, illuminating its efficacy.

For those accepting the atonement, or reconciliation, all things rightfully inherited by the Son, pass to them (Heb 1:2; Rev 21:7 ). Everything pertaining to life and godliness becomes theirs because of Christ, the ratifying Victim. Mercy and grace to help in the time of need belong to them because of Him. The Law is now written upon their hearts, and they are brought into intimacy with God the Father, because of the Son- -the ratifying victim. All spiritual blessings in heavenly places are bequeathed to us because of the ratifying victim, God's Son! Where there is no recognition of the Lord's Christ, there can be no acceptance, no forgiveness, no administration of grace. Apart from Jesus--an emphasis upon Him--there is utter hopelessness, futility, and rejection! There is no way to overstate this. It is one of the great requirements of sound theology! You simply cannot make too much of Jesus! God initiates and culminates everything with Him!


The Spirit now shows the sanctifying power of Christ's blood--its capacity to make us thoroughly acceptable to the very God from which sin alienated us. To accomplish this, we are taken back to the inauguration of the first covenant. It was inaugurated with the blood of a ratifying victim. "Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU." And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (NASB).

A remarkable mixture was sprinkled upon the covenant itself, the book of the Law, and all of the people. It was a sanctifying mixture, consisting of blood and water, with scarlet wool, and hyssop. Even the tabernacle and all of the vessels employed in the service of God were sprinkled with this holy mixture. These events are recorded in Exodus 24:3-9. The Spirit here adds "water and scarlet wool and hyssop," not mentioned in the Exodus 24 text. These are, however, mentioned in Leviticus 14:5-7,49-51 when blood was "sprinkled" on the leper and the unclean house. We understand that the hyssop was the media from which the blood was sprinkled, the scarlet wool the means of binding the hyssop together, and the water to prevent the blood from coagulation. We conclude, therefore, that this was the ordained way of sprinkling the blood, even though the details are not supplied in the Exodus account.

"Blood" speaks of the justifying efficacy of Christ's atonement. "Water" declares its sanctifying effects, cleansing and setting apart the individual to God. "Scarlet wool" was dyed wool, depicting Christ bearing our defiling transgressions in His pure Person and body. Hyssop was a small plant with absorbing qualities. It was used to put blood on the door posts at the time of the Exodus (Ex 12), and was used to present vinegar to Jesus whole upon the cross (John 19:29). It stands for the ability to transmit the effectiveness of Christ's vicarious death to the individual.

Notice the extent of the sprinkling, or setting apart. The book and the people were sprinkled, or sanctified. (9:19). The tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry were also sprinkled (9:21). The covenant was sanctified for the people, and the people were sanctified for the covenant. The place of ministry and the means of ministry were also set apart. Everything involved in the concourse of people with God had to be dedicated! What God had declared had to be set apart for the people. The people also needed to be set apart for God. God must be served in a dedicated place, and with dedicated people and vessels. The blood of a ratifying victim had to set everything apart, separating it from the sinful order. As it is written, "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (9:22). All of this elaborate ceremony introduced the death of Christ, God's requisite for the reconciliation of a fallen race. Here is the reason for the Levitical sacrifices, the Aaronic priesthood, and the divers procedures for cleansing and sanctification. They were all introductory to the coming sacrifice of Christ. Men needed to be acquainted with that sacrifice! A SUBSTITUTE IS NECESSARY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRETY OF REDEMPTION! From the beginning to the end--from inauguration to culmination--our salvation depends upon our Substitute.

Sin so defiled our race that every aspect of God's dealings with us required the forfeiture of innocent life. It began in Eden's garden, when God made Adam and Eve "coats of skins" (Gen 3:21), and it continued until the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ. Those who think lightly of sin must think again. It drove a wedge between man and God that could not be resolved without the forfeiture of an innocent life--a ratifying victim. Little wonder the central ordinance in the body of Christ involves the remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself a ransom, to be testified in due time! No wonder Satan has aggressively sought to distort this feast of remembrance.


Now we enter, as it were, into the holy of holies. We were not the only ones that required sanctification. Heaven was not yet ready for commerce with fallen man. A dedication of the things to be received by men must also take place. "Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these" (NASB). Notice, this is something that "was necessary"!

The language precisely applies to the ceremonies under the Old Covenant, but generally to things in heaven. The people, tabernacle, and vessels of the ministry had all been contaminated by sin. Heaven had not become contaminated, and that is not the intent of the phrase, "but the heavenly things themselves [were cleansed] with better sacrifices." The idea here is that of DEDICATION, or setting apart for the enjoyment of redeemed humanity. The satisfaction of God Himself is portrayed in this imagery. We also see the readiness of Jesus to intercede for us, and minister to us the New Covenant. The employment of angelic hosts in ministering to the heirs of salvation is also intended in this expression. Include in this all of the "spiritual blessings in heavenly places" that are now ours, together with "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit," the "fruit of the Spirit," the "whole armor of God," and an "inheritance" reserved in heaven for us (Eph 1:4; Rom 14:17; Gal 5:22-25; 6:10-18; 1 Pet 1:4). Do not take for granted your enjoyment of these realities! They have been sanctified to you by the blood of Christ, the ratifying Victim! Were it not for that, you could not have a single one of them! It is God's recognition of Christ that has caused Him to recognize you! It is your position in Christ that brings the marvelous gifts of grace to you. Your person is not the point in heaven! The Son of God is heaven's focus. Christ is the King of glory, and you are made accepted in Him. Jesus is not something, He is everything! How well this aspect of our salvation is summarized in the book of Galatians. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal 3:29, NIV). The "heavenly things" were set apart for you by the blood of Christ. Your possession of and commitment to Him qualify you to enjoy them in abundance!


Three appearances of Christ are now mentioned. They are not declared in chronological order. Rather, the Spirit proclaims them in a manner that will make for confidence in the believer. An earthly ministry in an earthly tabernacle could not effect a change in man's condition. Nor, indeed, could it bring heavenly resources to him. That required a heavenly ministry--the intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ. He returned to heaven to enter this indispensable ministry. "For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (NASB). We have commented at length on the intercessory ministry of Christ in earlier lessons. A brief summation of that good work is all that is required here.

Christ is able to save to the fullest extent every accepted person because of His intercessory work (Heb 7:25). The effects of sin are so pervasive that continual heavenly activity is required to save us. In my judgment, much current-day theology treats salvation too simplistically. It does properly present the present activity of Christ--an activity required to bring us safely to glory. Christ entered into heaven upon the basis of His effective sacrifice. Because it was received, the Son Himself was received and exalted at the right hand of God. Because He is received, we too can be received! At this very moment He is representing you to the Father. He is the pledge of your soon gathering unto Him, that where He is, there you may be also.


The reason for Christ's initial appearance in the world was to take away sin. " . . . but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (NASB). This is declared several places in Scripture, and is foundational to our understanding of salvation. John the Baptist announced, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). John the beloved wrote, "But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin" (1 John 3:5). Of the Messiah, Daniel prophesied He would, "finish the transgression, and . . . make an end of sins" (Dan 9:24). Again,. John wrote, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (John 2:2). In this way, Jesus was "the Savior of the world," appointed to "bring us to God" (1 John 4:14; 1 Pet 3:18).

Admittedly, it does not look like sin has been "put away," but it has--and effectively so, I might add! It was not put away from the world, but from the consideration of God. God does not behold the sin of those in His Son. In Him, sin is "put away." Balaam, that strange and covetous prophet of former times, said this of God. "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel" (Num 23:21). In a very unique way, that word applies to those in the Son. Their sins have been removed from them "as far as the east is from the west" (Psa 103:12). All of the prophetic expressions of forgiveness are fulfilled in Christ Jesus. "Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back" (Isa 38:17). "You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (Mic 7:19, NIV). "Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile" (Psa 32:2). "Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger" (Psa 85:3). "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool" (Isa 1:18, NIV). "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more" (Isa 43:25, NIV). "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins" (Isa 44:22). "I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me" (Jer 33:8, NIV).

All of this was accomplished when the Son of God first appeared in the world. He came to fulfill a divine requirement. God could neither receive or bless us as He intended, until our sins had been "put away" from His consideration. We know this was accomplished, because God raised Him from the dead, and exalted Him at His own right hand (Rom 1:4; Acts 5:31; Phil 2:9). This would not have been possible if sin had not been removed!

The implications of this should be obvious. Sin has no power over the individual that "receives the atonement" (Rom 5:11). Because sin has been "put away" it has no more dominion over us (Rom 6:14). Satan can be resisted, steadfast in the faith (1 Pet 5:8-9)! We can say "NO" to ungodliness and worldly lusts (Tit 2:11-12). The principle, or "law of sin," remains in our lower nature, but we are freed from its power and enslavement (Rom 7:23-24). If we walk in the Spirit, we "will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Gal 5:16-27). Why so? Because Jesus really did put sin away! Praise the Lord! This appearing is also imperative if we are to be saved.


One more appearing is required for the salvation of "the elect" (Mark 13:22; Luke 18:7; Rom 8:33; Col 3:12; 1 Pet 1:2). This final appearing is as sure as the previously mentioned ones. Because that truth can escape men, the Spirit takes us to something more generally acknowledged--man's death and judgment. This is known among those with the most rudimentary knowledge of the things of God. Hear, now, the testimony of the Spirit. "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await" (NASB).

This coming is called "a second time" because it has reference to His appearance to men. His current appearance is before God. His initial appearance was before men, in a disguised manner. His second appearing to men will not be in a disguised way, nor will it be private. This will not be an occasion where only a few shepherds are invited, or a solitary pair in the temple made privy to His appearance. No! When He appears the "second time," "every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him" (Rev 1:7). A public appearing, indeed! His "second" appearing will be accompanied by the passing away of the present heavens and earth. With remarkable vividness and clarity Peter paints the picture. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat" (2 Pet 3:10- 12, NIV).

Men have chosen to theorize and speculate about the "second" appearance of Christ, when they ought to PREPARE for it. In a very real sense, our salvation will not be completed until that day. That is why Peter declared were begotten again in order "to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet 1:4-5).

Likewise Paul writes, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Rom 13:11). We presently have the first fruits of our salvation, but certainly not the whole of it. One major aspect of salvation that remains to be fulfilled is the transformation of our bodies (to say nothing of the removal of our adversary, temptation, and enemies). We know that God is set to "sanctify" us completely, "spirit, soul, and body" (1 Thess 5:23). It is obvious that your "body" has not yet been saved, or wholly sanctified. It is presently a "vile body" (Phil 3:20), noted for its frailty (2 Cor 5:1). But it will not always be so! Of our bodies, it is written, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor 15:53). And when shall this occur? When will the completion of our salvation take place? When will we exchange these mortal bodies for ones immortal? "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess 4:16-17). In the very midst of the passing of the natural order, the piercing blast of the trump of God, and the mighty shout of the archangel, we shall experience the fulness, or culmination, of our salvation!

If you still have questions about when this noisy affair shall take place, and death be once and for all decimated, hear again the Word of the Lord. "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor 15:51-52). All of this, when the Lord appears "the second time."

But note, Jesus will appear "without sin" (KJV), or "without reference to sin" (NASB), "apart from sin" (NKJV), or "not to deal with sin" (RSV). The NIV provides the interpretive clause, "not to bear sin." The point of the text is that Jesus will appear "the second time" in order to finalize the great salvation of which He is the exclusive Administrator. He will not deal with sin, engage in a conflict with it, or make an additional expiation for it. When salvation is brought to its culmination, the insurrection of mankind will come to an abrupt and grinding halt! There will be no more opposition, nor more rebellion, no more attempts to throw off the yoke of Divine government. The lost will sense their hopelessness, and cry for rocks and mountains to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:16)--but it will be no avail. The bitter lament will be heard, "The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved" (Jer 8:20, NIV).

The thought of a final battle with the wicked being fought after Jesus returns "the second time" is a concoction of men. It has served to lull men into complacency by making them more fearful of physical harm and persecution than of the wrath of the Lamb of God. The words "unto salvation" defines the conclusion of all things. The earth as we now know it shall have served its purpose when salvation is consummated!


We have surveyed a large text--one capable of challenging your thoughts for some time to come. The salvation into which you have been called is exceeding great in every sense of the Word. Its foundation was accomplished by a great Savor, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is now being implemented by an interceding High Priest, and will be brought to its culmination when the High Priest leaves the Most Holy Place, heaven itself. Then, the intercession will be concluded, and the preparatory work completed. I ask you to lift up your eyes! Your redemption is drawing near!